Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki (CD)
The most weird exploito-pop attempting to fuse western popular music with folkloristic elements of different origins came from the 60s and early to mid 70s. Among tons of more or less entertaining releases a few diamonds could be found and YAMASUKI, the brainchild of French composers Jean Kluger and Daniel Vangarde is definitely a stand out production in this field. As you may have noticed, this album deals with Yamasuki, some fictional Japanese person about whom Kluger and Vangarde have created a musical concept story with a black belt judo master doing all the battle shouts and a female choir, the so called YAMASUKI SINGERS taking the lead vocal duties. All in Japanese language of course with strange grammar. At least it sounds Japanese, that is all what matters. The music itself is a simmering mixture of typical bloomy pop music of the late 60s with a psychedelic edge, elements of funk in the rhythmical department and some fuzzed out acid rock tunes thrown in for the good measure. The Eastern flavor might just be an illusion due to the language but all in all YAMASUKI is a beautiful western pop art vision of Japanese music. In fact it sounds and feels like many contemporary bands and projects that combined colorful powerpop with a heavier guitar sound and regional peculiarities which results in a simmering sound cocktail with fresh and exciting melodies. We had OMEGA (Hungary) in Europe for example, we may know AKA (Indonesia) and SAN UL LIM (Korea) as well, YAMASUKI comes close to these bands, even as an exploito-pop project. Fans of rich melody patterns will get their minds blown by this album. When Latin based funk and samba rhythms flow beneath a lush vocal arrangement as witnessed in “Okawa”, track five on the A side, you will certainly jump of joy and dance through your living room like a maniac. YAMASUKI is made to abduct you from reality and lead you into some exotic dreams. I could imagine some Italian adventure TV series like “Sandokan” just with a story about Japan featuring this music. Anyway, it is great fun to listen to, well produced, well executed and has a very original conception. Close your eyes, drink some sake and find yourself shifted to an ancient Japan as it exists only in your dreams.